Author Archive for Hank Yuloff

If Your Protest Sign Needs Punctuation, Its Message is Too Long

should be Our not AreFull disclosure: this post was inspired by Sharyn waking up saying that she spent the night dreaming about correcting the punctuation in protest signs…!
Protest Sign Needs Spell CheckThat punctuation should be at the end

We have all seen pictures on the internet of protesters holding signs and the bad spelling and punctuation makes them look, frankly, dumb.

We have also seen signs for a business on the internet that have bad punctuation and misspelled words.

When we see them, what do we automatically think of the person who is holding that sign? Or that business?

Yes, we think they are not all that intelligent. And we think less of them. If a prospect is deciding on giving you a check, would you rather she think you are intelligent, or not very smart? Of course, we all just chose intelligent.

So, why let a simple mistake hurt your opportunity to increase your sales?

Most of the time, the mistakes on signs are because someone rushed to finish them, or proofing them. It is easy for me to show you bad signs to get my point across in this blog, but what about mistakes in your presentations? Or emails? How do you think they make us look?

This blog is a reminder to take a few minutes to do what our elementary school through high school teachers told us to do: Check your spelling and punctuation before turning it in. It is sad how many people don’t do this and by remembering this blog, you will add a few percentage points to your closing rate because your work will stand out from competitors who were too busy to pay attention. This is a small, incremental change you are making, but it makes all the difference in the world.punctuation gone wrong
Check Your Sign's Punctuation first

Let’s talk about resumes, for a moment. When I was a sales manager for a national company, I saw resumes every week from people who wished to work for me.

I knew I was not going to interview all of them. I only wanted to chat with the ones who met my standards.

My first time through a stack of resumes was the “easy elimination round.” That was where I took out all the ones with mistakes: spelling, grammar and just bad writing style. Why? At that time, working for a promotional product company, misspelled words cost us money. If they blew it on their resume or cover letter, their primary marketing piece to get hired, I could not take the chance on them. Now imagine that is one of our cover letters or emails with a proposal to do business with us. Can you blame the prospect for not returning your call?

Why should they call us when we threw up a huge stop sign by using bad spelling, grammar, or punctuation?

To help you get over some easy hurdles, here are many punctuation rules to help you out.

PERIODS
1. We use them at the end of a declarative or imperative sentence.
Our appointment lasted an hour.
Bring back the rental car on time.

2. Use a period after initials, abbreviations, and contracted words.
N.F.L. Mr. et al.
W.W.F. a.m. oz.

3. Use only one period to complete a sentence which ends in an abbreviation.

4. Use a period, rather than a question mark, after an indirect question.
He asked when we would be leaving.
too much punctuation?

COMMA
Use a comma to separate words and phrases and in a series, i.e.
Jennifer was not altogether happy, it appeared.

SEMICOLON
1. Use a semicolon ( ; ) to separate independent coordinate clauses closely connected in meaning when no coordinate conjunction (such as and, but, for, or, nor, or while) is used.
Everyone’s business did better after investing in The Small Business Marketing Plan; the average sales went up 47%.

2. Use a semicolon before a transitional word or phrase which joins the coordinate clauses of a compound sentence.
Jennifer was not excited about going to the baseball game; besides, the tickets were very expensive.

3. Use a semicolon in lists where a comma is insufficient to separate the items clearly.
Jennifer was deciding which features of The Small Business Marketing Plan she liked the most. She is choosing from the coaching feature; the fact that her non-profit gets a free copy; and that she gets to attend the live marketing bootcamps for free.

COLONS
1. Use a colon ( : ) before a list of items or details.
Jennifer bought The Small Business Marketing Plan because she needed help with three things: locking in her target market, closing sales, and using social media effectively.

2. Use a colon after the salutation of a business letter.
Dear Jennifer:           OR To whom it may concern:

QUESTION MARKS
1. Use a question mark after each separate part of a sentence containing more than one question.
Should Jennifer give her free copy of The Small Business Marketing plan to the Boys and Girls club? The Chamber of Commerce? YesICan.org?

2. Use a question mark at the end of a question.
What time yesterday did Jennifer buy The Small Business Marketing Plan?
wrong punctuation used

APOSTROPHE
Use an apostrophe for:
1. Contractions such as “It’s time for Jennifer to buy The Small Business Marketing Plan.”

2. The Possessive Case of a Noun, such as “The Small Business Marketing Plan is now Jennifer’s.”

EXCLAMATION POINT
1. Use an exclamation point to express a strong feeling. You do not need more than one.
Jennifer is so excited that she bought The Small Business Marketing Plan!

QUOTATION MARKS
Use double quotation marks ( “ ) around a direct quotation. Do not use them for indirect statements.
“Wow,” Jennifer said, “The Small Business Marketing plan is wonderful.”

Now, just for fun, here are 10 signs you are a grammar nerd, according to Grammarly:

10 signs you are a grammar nerd

10 signs you are a grammar nerd.

If you are about to have a sign made and want a second set of eyes to take a look at your spelling and punctuation, send it to Info @ Yuloff Creative.com . You can also give us a call at 800-705-4265

How to Write Your Business Book

Most of us for our first few books are still a bit intimidated with the entire process of creating our business book.  In past blog posts, we have talked about WHY to write your book, so now let’s discuss HOW to get it done. I have broken it down into 17 steps.

  1. Put off the title. In the movies, you see the writing of a business book portrayed all the time. The actor has a typewriter, puts paper in it and then… nothing. They are waiting for inspiration. That’s because most people start with the title. Then they think they have to live up to it.

Can you imagine naming your book War and Peace? And THEN starting out on Monday morning to write the book?

We have gone through 5 titles for the HR Marketing book and are still looking for a permanent subtitle for The Marketing Checklist 3, the social media book.

  1. Instead, decide what you are going to write about. This is not hard – Your industry! You are writing your business book to be considered the expert. The literal “guy who wrote the book on the subject.”
  2. We got through steps one and two pretty fast, congratulations. Some of you are writing your business book while you listen to/read this. Step 3 is creating your Chapter headings. Come up with about 15 to 20 ideas of things you could write about under the topic of your book. Some people use post its on a cork board for this process so that later on, they can move them around easily and see them all at once. Others use a white board.   I write them down on paper. By the way, some of these chapters are not going to make the cut, which we will discuss later.
  3. Now write 1 or 2 sentences on what is in each chapter. Each chapter should be between 1 and 6 pages. That’s roughly 150 to 2000 words. Another way to put that is 1 to 3 blog posts that you are combining.
  4. Acquire an editor. Not your neighbor or your spouse. A real honest to goodness professional editor.
  5. Decide on what research you may need to do. Set a calendar for getting that done within a fortnight. You should already know most of this stuff – it is not a Masters dissertation. You might need a few statistics, go get them.

Part of this research is going through your blog posts and deciding which ones will be included in your book. We have talked about this:  As you write your weekly blog posts, you are writing your book. You may have to edit them from informal to a bit more formal writing style, but that is partially what you have your editor for, to help you with that.

  1. Once you have sorted your blogs into the virtual “Yes” and “No” piles, you need to write the rest of the chapters. Give me 22 minutes a day to write. Just before you check email. Each of your chapters are going to take a few days. This means your book is going to take about a month to write. Hank Yuloff's first business book: The Marketing Checklist
  2. If you have too many chapters or in other words are going too far over 100-150 pages, you may have TWO books. Don’t put it all in one book!  The Marketing Checklist – 80 Simple Ways to Master Your Marketing really should have been 49 Simple Ways, to tie in to 49 Stupid Things People do with Business Cards and How to Fix Them. Instead, The Marketing Checklist TWO followed that theme with 49 MORE Simple ways. The Marketing Checklist 3, 4, and 5 are being watched for the amount of content so that they can spill over into other books.
  3. Go back and look at your chapter headings. Make them more interesting. This is when you should be able to move to #10 which is…
  1. Lock the title. And here is a tip which will make it worth your entire reading of this blog: Use keywords someone would type to find your expertise in the title of your business book.
  2. Find someone to do your cover art. You can start this earlier in the process, but as you write the book, you may get ideas for what should go on the cover. Your artist should be given enough of the book to read that she has an idea of what to create for you. NOTE – and this is very important – if you are using this book to promote your business, then you should be on the cover. This means that #12 is…
  3. Get great cover photos taken. By a professional photographer.  You can do this step at any time during this process.
  4. Find people to review your book and give you a paragraph to put on the back of the book. Find the most well-known people you know. Hopefully people who have written books. While they are writing your reviews, you can move on to…
  5. Have your book formatted and uploaded to the printer. I am not going to promote any one in particular, there are many.
  6. This step is to take care of all the “other stuff.” The acknowledgements. The dedication. Your author bio page.  And the copywrite page, which your editor will assist you with.
  7. Create the sales page. Or pages. Keeping in mind that since your books are sales tools, why not put sales pages inside them so people can buy more, maybe even in bulk. It could be a coupon for your services. It could be how to get in touch with you to schedule an assessment appointment. Our books are getting more and more salesy. In the business card book, I thought I was being sly by adding a super secret email address that people can have their cards approved. Now, we are adding full on “lights, camera, action” pages of our products.
  8. Promote your business book. But that is another blog.

If you have questions or want help with your any of these steps, please invest 5 minutes to completing our free Marketing Assessment, at the end of which you'll be invited to view our calendar to book your free 30 minute focus session with us. Go to www.BoxFullOfMarketing.com

10 Ways to Improve Your Company Brochure

“Can you send us a company brochure?”

Do you ever have a potential client say that? To me, they are doing one of two things.

ONE: They are very interested but need a little more information before they decide to buy; OR
TWO: They are not at ALL interested and are just putting you off.

If it is number one, we need to make it so awesome that it reinforces their buying decision.

But just in case it is number two, we need to make it so good that if they are in that category, they change their mind.

How are we going to get that job done?

If you have been paying attention to the Yuloff Creative Marketing Solutions protocol, you know that our first brochure priority would be to write a book, and in turn, use that as your brochure. That way the client can say they hired “the guy who wrote the book on the subject.”

Did I just put a huge wall in front of you? OK, let’s back up just a bit and get your more traditional company brochure done.

YesICAN.org draft 2017 brochure – what NOT to do

Here are some tips to make YOUR company brochure better than the average competitor going after the same business you are:

1. Promise me you will not use “stock photos.” Hire a professional photographer to get GREAT shots of you, your team and the things that represent your company. Worst thing that could happen is that you use the same photos as competitors.
These photos MUST let clients say “Oh, yea, that’s definitely me.”

2. I learned a very cool rule for when it came to photos: The 20% Rule. Make sure that the models in your photos are 20% younger, 20% better looking, and 20% better dressed than the people you are trying to attract. This is because that is how most people see themselves. For me, it would be a photo of Tom Hanks in That Thing You Do, George Clooney as Doug Ross in ER, or a taller Tom Cruise in Top Gun. Huh – better make that the 40% Rule for me.

3. In addition to photos, pay a graphic artist to come up with a great graphic for the cover.

4. If you use digital printing (that means you can do a one-off instead of printing 500 of your company brochure at a time and have them sit on a shelf for a year), you can personalize them for the person you are giving them to. Now, you might ask me, how do I do that with a book? Simple, I sign it!

5. Make sure you offer 3 possible problems that you solve and make yourself the answer to the challenge that the business is facing.

6. Along those lines, you can create a checklist to encourage engagement by asking “How many of these benefits do you think will be included when you work with us?” Of course, you check ALL the boxes.

7. All of our clients are different than their competitors. Our job is to help you focus on what those differences are and capitalize on them. For example, when companies work with Yuloff Creative, they get a team of experts. Most of our competitors are solopreneurs who cannot specialize on more than a couple of tactics. We easily double that number and together act as a mulitiplier. Point out what is different in your company.

8. You can also use a before/after comparison. Remember the Ad Council’s ‘This is Your Brain, This is Your Brain on Drugs' ads? A very powerful metaphor like that can improve success greatly.

9. Add an offer. Make it so good that they would have to be an idiot to not take you up on it.

10. You don’t have to use an 8 ½ x 11” sheet of paper with two folds. There are LOTS of different shapes out there. Feel free to use them. By the way, that rule does not apply to business cards.

AND HERE’S A BONUS:

11. Don’t forget to test. See which offers work and continue them. See which photos work the best. See which details work the best.

Obviously there are lots of other details which come into play when designing your company brochure, but these will get you down the road to success. If you want help, give us a call at 800-705-4265, or send us your layout to info@YuloffCreative .com

On the Matter of Words, Words Matter

Every year or so, I am reminded of the expression that words matter. Words matter in our personal relationships and words matter in how we build our business ties. Recently, I had a client who, in order to describe a competitor’s actions, used the term “it’s as if they were smoking crack.”

words matter in the dictionaryRed flag? Yes.  And an excellent learning moment as well. In our Small Business Marketing Plan bootcamp we sometimes include an entire section on “words that work in marketing.” I bet you can easily guess some of them: New, Free (except in the subject line of an email), Healthy, and Sale to list just a few.

With the help of a lot of friends, I thought I would compile an up to the minute list of phrases that are out there in the marketplace of ideas which are causing negative reactions.

Here is how I compiled the list

At 9:30 in the morning, I went onto my personal profile on Facebook and posted this: “Info needed for a blog: what phrases do you find most over used and trite? (Example…” It's like X, on steroids.”) Thanks, in advance!”

That’s it. Within 24 hours, I received over 80 responses from people who think that words matter.  I will give you the list, along with my comment.  Let’s go!

“We're committed to being transparent.” Use this and your audience will test you. I DO use this one. I WANT to be tested. Sharyn and I tell people all the time that we pull the curtains back, so though this gets used a lot, we are starting off with a phrase that can help you. Surprise!

“This lady did X… and you won't believe what happened next.” This is quite popular right now for online marketers to use. It's used to generate a lot of click throughs because people are curious what that lady did next.

words matter, to be honest

other ways to say To Be Honest

“In all honesty” along with “believe me.” Several people posted this one.  The phrase implies that if you have to tell people when to believe you, the rest of the time you are not telling the truth.

My friend Cristin Williams posted this: “It's pretty industry specific, but those “One call, that's all,” and “one click, that's it” phrases drive me bonkers. I think it started with one person, but now it's everywhere, with every lawyer, and it's just incredibly annoying.”   The other side of this is that if people have to click too many times, they will NOT click to buy.

 

words matter Lebron James

Lebron James

Any time someone is referred to as “the LeBron of” a different job, it's annoying. It's also not specific enough. Do we mean that he or she is a star? Or a leader? Or a household name? Or a diva? Or a philanthropist?  It could be anything, both positive AND negative. It's not just LeBron James, either. Any time you compare two people in entirely different fields, there is the possibility, unless it is specifically explained, that your words could be misunderstood. Similar to this one is “Legendary.”  Being good or even the best at something doesn't make you legendary. Not even close. In fact, most people of legend never existed.
even legendary words matter, Barney!

“X” is the new “y” doesn't work anymore, either. The minute Orange is the New Black became a television show, it was over.  Oh, and something being ‘over’ is over, too.

“Whatever” along with “just saying” are two of the most dismissive, negative terms you can use in your writing. Use them with a prospect and you will see how much words matter.

“Revolutionary” is overused, too. Everything isn't revolutionary, and most of the things that use the word aren't even all that impressive.

“Getting to the next level …” along with “Game changer, next level, or take your business to the next level.” Those got taken to a whole new level of negativity with the people who answered. I am guessing far too many business gurus (we, for the record, are NOT marketing gurus, we are marketing ORACLES) include it in their presentation and now next leveling is no longer a thing.

Having someone get “Thrown under the bus” is just plain overused. Figure out some other way to talk about getting stabbed in the back. Perhaps something from Hamlet when he stabs Claudius with the poisoned rapier and then forces him to drink from the poisoned goblet. That’s going a bit highbrow!

follow your dreams much“Follow Your Dream” is great on a poster or a facebook meme, but not in your writing.

“Cattywompus.” Someone added this and I just agreed. Besides, I never used it in a blog before so maybe I will get an SEO point or two.

“Patootie” as another word for butt is icky.

“Some people say…” is a just plain lazy way to make your point. Who are “some” or “everyone?” There are ways to do this properly, but I would suggest we chat about it first.  Head to BoxFullOfMarketing.com and when we have our time scheduled, ask us about the NLP method.

“Literally” and “come with.”  These two literally come with ways to misuse them.

“Team player.” She is a team player. She goes to all the meetings our department has and takes notes. She never SAYS anything, but she is in the room.  If you are on a team, you are a player on the team. Unless you are the coach.  Then you are aware that there is “no I in team,” that “everyone’s opinion should count” (no, it shouldn’t), and that there is “no such thing as a stupid question” (my goodness, there IS).

“Hands on. Turn key.”  Nothing gets done if you do not put your hands on it in some way. Even if it is to tell your assistant to put his hands on it and turn the key.

words matter more than sliced bread“Best thing since sliced bread.” Seems to make this list every time. Has there been NOTHING better than sliced bread since bread was first sliced instead of torn apart in 1928? At the very minimum, I would go with air conditioning and microwave popcorn.

“That said…” When I hear someone say this, I always say “What did you say?” Try it. “For what it's worth,” it's a funny way to let them know they using a cliché.

“Basically.” This is a personal hatred for me. Basically, when people begin their explanation with basically, they are telling me that the rest of the story will not matter or that I am too dumb to understand the intricacies of their story. Or maybe I have it wrong and they are telling me that theirs is a simple story. Words matter.

My friend, Mark Shinn, shared this: Ok, this is mine: . . “I know, Right?” . . . Think about it . . . if you already know, why exactly are you asking for validation?

I can agree with that, Mark.  In other words: I know, right?

“Do you mind if I ask you a question?”…I'll usually respond with “you just did. Do you have another?” or something like that.

“Deja vu all over again.” was added a few times. I will probably add it again. Just say you had a feeling of déjà vu, but could not place it. Besides, isn't it redundant?!?

Yuloff Creative Marketing Solutions in Sedona“”It is what it is”…”that ship sailed”…”so be it”  I didn’t realize it until Judy Cantu added these three in one post, but all of those drive me crazy. I would have to add that “missing the boat” would go along with the ship leaving the harbor.

Stand up comic, Sal Rodriguez, responded with “It’s in God’s hands.” What if you are communicating with someone who has had a falling out with the Deity or is not a believer? I think it would be better to substitute something about Nature. But not Mother Nature.

Another phrase that goes along with this one is “Getting Closure” which most every therapist loves to use when setting our schedule of visits to their office. When it comes to religion, words matter deeply so be aware.

Most folk do not use the word “LIKE” as a modifier in their writing, but when we speak, it’s like, so totally incorporated in our speech patterns, that like, we don’t notice it.

My skin crawled when I read Janet Pheiffer’s contribution: “Agree to disagree.”  Oh, so you are telling me that I am wrong and you are verbally patting me on my head and sending me to the Dunce corner?!?

One of my respondents added “‘Reach out to…’ makes me want to reach out and strangle that person!”   Wow, those are some strong feelings.

words matter...true story

don't be sad, be awesome

Several people said that AMAZING and AWESOME are overused. That’s sad because awesome is one of my favorite words. Another phrase I use all the time is “In other words” because it is an easy crutch for me to use when I want to teach something from a second or third point of view. And what follows is not better when I wrap up my soliloquy with “the bottom line is…” Didn’t I just get you there???

So “at the end of the day” words matter so I am asking you to be cognizant of the words you use.  Avoiding the cliché brings your written and oral communication “to another level” which is always a solid choice.

Three rules borrowed from the world of fashion

(because they came to mind so I will use them here)

  1. Dress better than the people you are on stage in front of. This includes being on stage in front of one new client. In this case, watch your language.
  2. Dress for Success. Use words without being lazy and falling back on tired phrases that everyone else is using.  You are different.  You are better.  Allow your communication to speak to it.
  3. Coco Chanel said “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” As we end, let’s change that to “Write shabbily and they lump you in with the crowd. Write impeccably and they will remember you.

words also matter to Coco ChannelWhen you would like help with crafting your messages, please give us a call at (800)705-4265.  Even better, jump onto our website BoxFullOfMarketing.com and get scheduled into our calendar.

Shall we lighten the mood a bit?

George Carlin's soliloquy of trite phrases in advertising

With Gratitude To….

I would like to thank the following people who added phrases into this “words matter” blog.  I appreciate you all!

Butch Leiber, Cristin Williams, Jed Bauman, Jaelline Jaffe, Sharone Rosen, Bliss-Ann Herlihy, Mike Schenker, Joe Ivone, Geri Whaley, Deb Jones, Mary Nolan, Christine Dellosso, Mark Shinn, Lisa Miles, Cara Biradi, Judy Cantu, Dawn Duffy, Michael Capozzoli, Sal Rodriguez, Lori Ellison, Leighla Kelly-Altilio, Jeff Donovan, Jude Cormier, Bob Haywood, Linda Boyne Coneen, Mark Eisenberg, James Mercal, Nancy Kelel, Dennis Burnham, Dina Hubbard, Denise Schickel, Star Tomlinson, Lisa Riley, Holly Croft Rasey, Alane Wainwright, Marlea Evans, Janet Anderson, Barry Shapiro, Marie Robinson, Michelle Goldwater, Joy Kennel, Randy Gold, Kevin Hannah, Eric Floyd, Jeffrey Grimshaw, Portia Franklin, Cyndi Ridge Bergerhofer, Phil Clement, Gregg Fritchle, Janet Pheiffer, Bill Dehart, Joyce Parsons Doull,  Frances Gandy Walsh, Leslie Kapner, Jonathan Walters, Anna Marie Russo, Dave Braun and Mr. Wil Bowers.

 

Pardon the Innuendo: NFL Ad Revenue Going Softer Without Viagra

It is time. The moment is right to share this Viagra story with you.
You see, it is a sad thing when a patent goes away.
It means a company will no longer be able to be the sole profiteer from their idea. With a patent, the company has the sole right to have business intercourse with the world.

Bob Dole's Viagra adThere is no underestimating the power of Viagra’s pull on the advertising world. It was one of the very first drugs we saw advertised on television. Remember Ex-US Senator Bob Dole hawking it in his 70s? $8 pills added up to a BILLION dollars in sales in the first year alone. To date, 20 million Americans have tried it (though, to be honest, I am not sure that they are including the partner of the actual pill popper. That number could be up to 40 million. Unless, of course, some of those partners found more than one partner who wanted pre-fabricated wood).

In this case we are going to talk about the 1996 patent of Viagra, which has erected a huge market with very little competition, all in the name of Morning Wood. Yes, their patent is about to expire.

What that means is that sales for the name brand “hypertention and angina pectoris products” are about to go soft as several generic versions of the drugs that keep you ready to rock after you get horny hit the market are set to expire. This means that in order to continue to make rock hard profits, the company will have to lower the expense side of the ledger.

Here are the numbers:  Pfizer, purveyors of penile pillars of perfection, spent $100 million on television ads over the past year including $31 million during NFL games (per ispot.tv).  In case you have not noticed, those ads stopped on May 15 (per Advertising Age, which first reported on the deflation of Viagra ad buys).

viagra single packs adYes, we will no longer see that 20-something-year-old blonde checking in to that inn in Vermont with the man and 12 pieces of luggage, but she only cares about the Viagra mini-pack in his wallet.

OH… don’t think you will still see the Cialis Tub Next to a Tub ads, either. THAT patent is running out soon, too, which will deflate their advertising buys from a high of $105 million a year. Some Cialis spots are stull airing, but the number per day has shrunk from 91 to 10.

If you think your sales may some day go down and prophylactically want to work on your own sales, pumping them up and generating a growth spurt, give us a call at 800-705-4265 and we will talk about it.  You can also go to www.BoxFullOfMarketing.com and we will slide you right in to our calendar where we can go deep in to your issues.

By the way, normally we end our blogs with the Call to Action, but just to say goodbye to Viagra,
here are several slogans they never got around to using:
  1. Viagra, Have a Poke and a Smile!
  2. Viagra, The quicker pecker picker upper.
  3. Viagra, like a rock !
  4. Viagra, When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.
  5. Viagra, Be all that you can be.
  6. Viagra, Reach out and touch someone.
  7. Viagra, Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman.
  8. Viagra, Home of the whopper!
  9. Viagra, We bring good things to Life!
  10. This is your peepee. This is your peepee on drugs.
  11. It keeps going, and going, and going.
  12. Help, I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up…. Viagra.
  13. Viagra, it does a body good.
  14. Small investment, Large Return.
  15. Viagra – The Quicker Dicker Upper